Written by S. Kalekar July 3rd, 2023

48 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for July 2023

These are themed submission calls and contests for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the submission calls are: Gothic; college life; teachers (and teacher appreciation); bad horror tropes done right; world tour; relief; ghost stories; smoke & mirrors; alternative leadership; occult detectives; and queens in wonderland.


Wyngraf: Cozy fantasy
This is a cozy fantasy magazine (no science fiction or urban fantasy). “Often fantasy means the presence of magic, but not always… Low-magic and no-magic stories are welcome”. Stories should have a pre-modern technology level (their cutoff is about early 19th century). They want secondary worlds, do not want stories set on our earth, prefer fantasy to fairy tales, and human-only settings are welcome; see guidelines for these, and other, details.
Deadline: 7 July 2023
Length: 3,000-8,000 words
Pay: One and a half cents per word
Details here.
(And Lightspeed is open for fantasy flash fiction of up to 1,500 words until 7th July 2023. Pay is $0.08/word. Details here.)

Diet Milk Magazine
This magazine publishes Gothic fiction, poetry, and art. They are reading submissions for their Spring/Summer issue. “Neatly genred or genre-bending, classically styled or modern, we want your prettiest, most pungent dread.
Give us withering romance, creatures that lurk and lure, families to be feared and houses that haunt; give us isolation and creeping, oppressive unwellness. Quietly thrill, terrify, and leave us wanting more.”
Deadline: 8 July 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to 3 poems
Pay: $15 per poem, $0.01/word ($40 minimum) for short stories
Details here, here, and here.
(Submissions will soon open for Seaside Gothic magazine; they want seaside gothic fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Their website says, “There are three criteria that define seaside gothic literature. It is led by emotion, not reason, exploring the human experience mentally and spiritually as well as physically… ; It addresses duality—land and sea, love and hate, the beautiful and the grotesque…; It connects to the edge, living on the seaside either literally or figuratively, and has one foot in the water and the other on solid ground…” They’ve listed all their open reading periods on the website. They pay £0.01/word for works up to 1,000 words. Please see their note on contributor copies. The reading period is 10-16 July 2023. Details here.)

The Ex Puritan: Indigenous Storytelling
They’re reading submissions by Indigenous writers for a special issue. “We want to see the full range of what storytelling looks like in the contemporary moment: submissions that would fit into any of our regular categories (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, reviews) are encouraged, and we especially encourage entries that fall under hybrid or experimental categories. While we envision hybrid/experimental as exploring multi-form writing in combination with disciplines including (but not limited to) visual art, mixed-media, science and technology, audio/oral storytelling, performance, and video, the sky is truly the limit here, as there are no genre limits when it comes to what storytelling can entail.
All entries are free of charge; if submissions have been disabled on this form, it just means we’ve reached our monthly limit of no-fee submissions. If this happens, please wait until the first of the next month to submit, as the free entries will restart. All submissions are considered equally. … Please note that submissions to this special issue are open only to folks from Indigenous communities.”
Deadline: 10 July 2023, or until filled
Length: Up to 10,000 words for fiction; up to 5,000 words for nonfiction; up to 4 poems; varies for others
Pay: CAD35-200
Details here (guidelines) and here (Submittable).
(Submissions for the regular issues, by all writers, are open on an ongoing basis, with a monthly cap on fee-free submissions and cut-off dates for issues; pay is CAD35-200; deadline for the Fall issue is 25 September 2023, or until filled; details here and here. They also have a special category in fiction – feedback for BIPOC writers.)


Bad Day Book Series: Seven themes
This is a nonfiction and poetry anthology – these must be true and personal stories, of events that have happened. They have various themes with upcoming deadlines, including (but not limited to):
General (Combination of all topics): Accepting ongoing submissions. Submissions for Book 1 are required by July 10th, 2023.
Special Needs & Disabilities: Submissions for The Bad Day Book- Caregiver Edition are required by July 10th, 2023.
Teachers: Submissions for The Bad Day Book- Teaching Edition are required by September 1st, 2023
College Life: Submissions for The Bad Day Book- College Life Edition are required by September 1st, 2023
Parenting: Submissions for The Bad Day Book- Parenting Edition are required by September 1st, 2023
Kids (Written by kids for kids): Submissions for The Bad Day Book- Kids Edition are required by September 1st, 2023
Teenage Years (Written by teenagers for teenagers): Submissions for The Bad Day Book- Teenage Years Edition are required by September 1st, 2023
And, “Stories should be about bad things, but that are still funny. We are not looking to include tragic or heart breaking stories. This book is to get others to laugh, gasp, and cringe.”
Deadline: See above
Length: Prefer up to 1,200 words, will accept up to 1,500
Pay: $40-75
Details here.

sans.Press: Another Name for Darkness
This is a fiction anthology. They want submissions inspired by the title, ‘Another Name for Darkness’, and their cover art. “The face in the mirror, the eyes gleaming in the night – are they friend or foe? Real or imagined? Or just your own reflection? And if you got close enough to see it for what it is, and hear what it has to say, would you ever feel the same? For our sixth anthology, we’ve decided to go looking in the shadows to meet what lurks out there! Maybe it’s a monster, or maybe it’s a hidden side of yourself (or maybe both are the same thing); maybe it’s the unexpected, or what you’ve always known to be true. Another Name for Darkness is an anthology for stories that dare to face the dark, looking at it with honesty and seeing what it reveals. We want the real and the supernatural, joyful and melancholic, light and dark – as long as it’s sincere.” Please note, they have a submission cap, and may close earlier than the deadline; submission is via a form on the website.
Deadline: 12 July 2023, or until filled
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: 150
Details here.

Solarpunk Magazine
This magazine publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on solarpunk themes. Essays are accepted year-round; fiction and poetry are open periodically, including during the first two weeks of July. (Also, “Submissions for the Solarpunk Myths themed issue will be accepted during any open submission window.” The Solarpunk Myths issue will be published in September.) They have listed submission windows and publishing schedule for 2023 on their website.
Deadline: 14 July 2023
Length: 1,500-7,500 words for fiction; 1,000-2,000 words for essays; and up to 5 poems
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $75/essay, and $40/poem
Details here and here.

Fairy Tale Review
They publish fairy tales and associated works. They want short fiction, essays, lyric nonfiction, and creative scholarship, as well as poetry, graphic novels, comics, drama, and translations of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry (see guidelines).
Deadline: 15 July 2023
Length: Up to 6,000 words of prose, or up to 4 poems
Pay: $50
Details here.

Vautrin: Oswald in Mexico City
Vautrin publishes gritty urban fiction, crime/mystery fiction, and satire. The theme for this issue is based around the John F Kennedy assassination, the trip the assassin is said to have taken to Mexico City, and the investigation surrounding it – see details on the website. “Now, about this short story writing project. It’s called The Oswald in Mexico City Dossier because the infamous trip is prime for exploration in a crime fiction/espionage/mystery environment. Along with that, the chapter symbolizes the murky business surrounding the assassination, overall.” This call is for an online issue of the magazine, and not the print magazine.
Deadline: 15 July 2023
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Pay: $35
Details here.
(And HellBound Books’ anthology calls are open, with different deadlines, including, but not limited to, Jane Nightshade’s Serial Encounters, “For this anthology, we’re looking for short stories about casual encounters of fictional people with serial killers, that turned creepy or deadly. Stories can be straight crime/thriller stories or ones with a supernatural bent (haunted objects, ghosts, demons, etc.)”; pay is $5 for stories of up to 5,000 words, and submissions are open till 30 August 2023, or until filled; details here.)

Headland: Speculative Fiction Issue
This is a New Zealand based journal and “While we publish a majority of Aotearoa New Zealand writers, we strongly encourage writers from all over the world to submit their work.”. They have a special call for speculative fiction stories, as well as creative nonfiction linked to the speculative, for this submission period.
Deadline: 16 July 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: NZ$50
Details here.
(ZNB Presents is also open for speculative fiction. This is a project from Zombies Need Brains; apart from annual anthologies, they now have a Patreon-based magazine which publishes unthemed speculative fiction. Stories must be submitted through the submissions management system Moksha. They pay $0.08/word for stories of 2,500-7,500 words. The deadline is 7th July 2023; the Kickstarter has been funded. Details here and here.)


Hungry Shadow Press: It Was All A Dream – An Anthology of Bad Horror Tropes Done Right
They are looking for short horror, weird, dark fiction; they want writers to “take your least favorite horror trope and make it work.” Their guidelines say, “Take a trope that’s well-worn, overused, predictable, tough to swallow, and scare the hell out of us with it. Turn it on its head, or make it bizarre enough to still surprise. Really take some time to understand why your chosen trope often fails and how you can make it into a successful (read: scary, surprising, weird, shocking, heartwrenching, maybe even funny) horror story.” They are open to all writers till 15th July, and have an extended submission window exclusively for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and marginalized writers July 16 – July 22, 2023.
Deadline: See above
Length: 1,500-3,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Zoetic Press: Non-Binary Review – Two themes

They want poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and art. They have two upcoming themes: World Tour, and Lies for Children. Please remember, they accept submissions until a cap is reached, or the deadline, whichever comes first. All submissions must have a clear relationship to the theme.
— World Tour: “From the first migration of our ancestors out of Africa to the globe trotting of the jet set, our planet and our culture have been shaped by people traveling vast distances. Some traveled for survival, some for wealth, some for power, and some traveled to satisfy their curiosity. We’re looking for stories about epic journeys over vast distances with many destinations. We’re looking for travels that have changed the way people have viewed their world. We’re looking for travels that have broadened the outlook, not just of the traveler, but of civilization.” Also see the kind of work they do not want (including personal travelogues, family’s moves to the new world.)  The deadline is 31 July 2023, or until filled.
— Lies for Children: ““If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way.” “We found you under a cabbage leaf.” “If you drink coffee, it’ll stunt your growth.” “If you go to sleep with wet hair, you’ll catch pneumonia.”
Adults tell children some outrageous lies. Think back to your own childhood and explanations your parents gave you for things you didn’t understand or superstitions they perpetuated. Why do adults feel that children need credulity-straining fictions rather than objective truths? What things do we find so uncomfortable that we can’t explain them to children? How do those lies affect our relationship with the children we lied to, or the adults who lied to us? Some of these lies are benevolent (although kind of weird), but some can be trauma-inducing. We want to hear the stories behind those lies, and the consequences they engendered.
We’re NOT looking for fairy tales, re-tellings of children’s bedtime stories, tall tales, Santa Claus/Easter bunny/tooth fairy origin stories, or any other fictions that even children know are stories told for fun.” The deadline is 31 October 2023, or until filled.
Deadlines: See above
Length: Up to 3,000 words for prose; up to 3 pages for poetry
Pay: $0.01/word for prose, $10 for poetry
Details here and here.
(They’re also accepting submissions for a new section – “Dear Horace Greeley is our advice column for authors.” Details on the kind of questions you can ask, and publication of the letters, are here.)

Artisans of the Soul: An Anthology of Teacher Appreciation
This is an anthology by Energy Threads. Their guidelines say, “Everyone talks about how courageous it is to be a teacher and how they touch lives, and yet we can never seem to adequately capture the heart of a teacher through short conversations in passing. … We are looking for pieces that specifically highlight the strength, courage, and commitment of teachers to their students. Pieces must be from the perspective of the teacher so that you can fully highlight the heart and soul of the teacher or mentor you are writing about. Genres are limited to general fiction, realism, magical realism, creative nonfiction, fantasy, and literary.”  And, “A small select amount of poetry, drabbles, and flash pieces will be considered if it meets the theme and is strong enough to stand with the rest of the selected pieces.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023, or until filled
Length:2,500-7,500 words for fiction and nonfiction
Pay: $5-25
Details here.

Taco Bell Quarterly
Their guidelines say, “Taco Bell Quarterly seeks literary/creative essays, short stories, fiction/prose, poems, comics, art, one act plays, fever dreams, multimedia, stupid status updates, criticisms, manifestos, recipes and anything else that explore any and all elements of Taco Bell. Or not. Shoehorn a chalupa in your short story. Maybe we’ll love it. An elegy for the discontinued menu items? Fine. …  Something that  introduces us to inventive form, dynamic language, and strong voice. Or perhaps it does none of the above. … We lean towards pieces that are queer and center their pain/joy in a Taco Bell.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: 500-1,500 words
Pay: $100
Details here and here.

Spoon Knife Anthology: Smoke & Mirrors
Spoon Knife is an anthology published by the NeuroQueer Books imprint (which focuses on queerness and neurodivergence) of Autonomous Press; the theme is ‘Smoke and Mirrors’. “Autonomous Press is now accepting submissions of short fiction, short literary memoir, and poetry for the eighth volume of Spoon Knife, our annual genre-bending lit anthology. … The theme for Spoon Knife 8 is Smoke & Mirrors. All submissions should touch in some way or another on this theme, but it can be interpreted as broadly and strangely as you like, and as literally or figuratively as you like (i.e., actual smoke and actual mirrors need not appear).”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: Up to 3 poems, up to 10,000 words for prose (see guidelines)
Pay: $20, and $0.01/word (see guidelines)
Details here.

Brink Journal: Relief
Their guidelines say, “we accept a variety of creative work from Nonfiction to Fiction, from Poetry to Translation. But our hearts beat strongest for hybrid work that falls into the cross-genre category we call Evocations. We are interested in work that presses boundaries, uses more than one medium to tell a story, and both looks and feels different on the page. Additionally, we look for submissions that engage the theme of each issue as well as the idea of being on the brink.” They are looking for submissions on the ‘Relief’ theme. “Relief is a form of ease, yes. It’s a delicious feeling of release. It’s that hopeful buoyancy caused by reassurance that overrides our systems when pain and distress are alleviated. Relief is physical. It’s emotional and mental, too. But as a concept, relief implies so much more than deliverance from discomfort. Relief connotes the remains of a thing left behind; the residue, the leftover, the left behind. That which stands when everything else lifts away. Relief is assistance that arrives in the form of aid, support, or help in a time of danger, need, or difficulty. Relief is a distinct vivid contrast.
You can throw things into relief. You can bring things into relief. Show us, create for us, those exact things. Take us to the edge, the brink, of relief.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: Unspecified
Pay: $25-100
Details here and here.
(And Block Party Magazine wants submissions for the Home theme. They publish Canadian, and also international writers. They pay $10. The deadline is 15 August 2023. Details here, here, and here.)

Written Backwards: Qualia Nous, Vol. 2 Anthology

They want dark science fiction and all blended sub-genres of science fiction (horror, fantasy, etc.) stories and poems. “What does the title mean? It’s up to interpretation. Qualia: instances of subjective, conscious experience; the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena; the way it feels to have mental states. Nous: intellections; awareness; perception; understanding; reason; thought; intuition; the faculty of the human mind; having the ability to understand what is true or real; practical intelligence.
While not many like the term “literary,” that is what this anthology is looking for: groundbreaking work that break normal conventions and will stand the test of time, propelling emerging and undiscovered writers into the mainstream.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: Up to 10,000 words for fiction
Pay: $0.10/word capped at 3,000 words for short fiction ($300), 5,000 words for long fiction ($500 for novelettes between 7,500 – 10,000 words); $50 for short poems, or $100 for long poems.
Details here.

Escape Artists: PseudoPod – Anthologies and Collections Reprint Call

PseudoPod publishes horror fiction in audio and online formats. “We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction. We don’t split hairs about genre definitions, and we do not observe any taboos about what kind of content can appear in our stories. Originality demands that you’re better off avoiding vampires, zombies, and other recognizable horror tropes unless you have put a very unique spin on them. What matters most is that the stories are dark and compelling.” Until 31st July 2023, they are accepting reprints only, for their Anthologies and Collections call – they want to purchase submissions of “reprints from anthologies and collections released at any point in 2023.” (And for a brief period in August, they will be open for unthemed/general original horror fiction submissions; see their schedule. Do not send original fiction now.)
Deadline: 31 July 2023 for reprints
Length: Up to 6,000 words
Pay: $20-100 for general reprints
Details here (guidelines for general submissions) and here  (Submission portal and details of the reprint call).
(– Also, Cosmic Horror Monthly, which publishes horror and weird fiction and related nonfiction, is open for submission until 7th July 2023. They pay $0.03/word for stories up to 5,000 words, up to $150. Details here.
— Another project open now is the Sonoran Horror anthology from Aphotic Realm Magazine – they want dark, sinister, or eerie stories, “horror that showcases the sunbeaten land and the creatures and mysteries that dwell there”; pay is $0.01/word for stories of 1,000-5,000 words, and the deadline is 15 July 2023. Details here.

The Cellar Door Issue #4: After Tomorrow is accepting submissions too, they want “post-apocalyptic suspense/horror stories about how mankind has come to survive after our near annihilation. Humorous stories are welcome.” Pay is $25 for stories of 2,000-10,000 words, and the deadline is 31 July 2023; details here.)

Flash Frog: Flash Frogtober

They want flash fiction that is “Small. Brightly Colored. Deadly to the Touch.” They accept general submissions year-round, with some exceptions; they accept ghost story submissions during July. “Flash Frog is currently only open for Flash Frogtober submissions until July 31st. This means we want your ghost stories! Send us your traditional ghost stories, the ones that haunt and scare. Send us your unconventional ghost stories, the ones that make us rethink what a ghost story can be. We are open to your interpretation, so surprise us!”
Deadline: 31 July 2023 for ghost story submissions
Length: Up to 1,000 words
Pay: $25
Details here.
(And December Tales II Anthology from Curious Blue Press is also looking for ghost story submissions of 2,000-3,500 words. Pay is $25, and the deadline is 15 July 2023. Details here.)

FIYAH: Belonging
They publish speculative fiction by Black writers of the African Diaspora. They also publish nonfiction and poetry. They are reading submissions on the ‘Belonging’ theme, in collaboration with the Othering and Belonging Institute (OBI) at UC Berkeley. “For this Belonging issue, we are looking for stories highlighting why, where, and how Black folks belong across the diaspora and multiverse. Imagine a moment in time or another universe where Black people aren’t forced to question our right to be ourselves. We want to see courageous narratives about forging new relationships for the betterment of all, including the planet/land, whether among the diverse peoples of our global community or with beings from faraway worlds. We are looking for fun and dynamic adventures that give rise to a sense of belonging and showcase the importance of community.”
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Length: 2,000-15,000 words for fiction, up to 4 poems
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction, $50/poem
Details here and here.

The Last Girls Club: This One’s for the Weirdos
This is a feminist horror magazine. The theme is ‘This One’s for the Weirdos’. “Most of us know what it is like to not fit in, to not know how to fit in or to even want to. This one is for the freaks, the geeks, the neurospicy, and the monsters who can’t quite make themselves fit the mold. The villagers are out there with the pitchforks and torches. What are you going to do hotshot? Or are you the one that fits in and undermines from the inside? Take it where you want.” They accept fiction and poetry submissions, and nonfiction pitches.
Deadline: 1 August 2023, or until filled
Length: Up to 2,500 words for fiction; up to 3 poems
Pay: $0.015/word up to $37.50 for fiction, $10 for poetry
Details here and here.
(And Banshee, a ‘journal for women who scream’, wants submissions for their Homeland issue. They pay. There is no deadline listed. Details here.)

Monosyllabic Queer Theory
This is a poetry anthology call for queer writers. The challenge is “to transform your favourite queer theory text into a poem that uses only single – syllable words. Monosyllabic Queer Theory will be a book-length poetry collection that welcomes all forms of poetry (short, long, prose poems, free verse, highly formal, and beyond).” They have extensive guidelines (with examples), including, “Queer theory – simply put, ideas about what it means to be queer – has sometimes been known for obtuse writing. But does readability necessarily require simplification? Can writing be both accessible to a wide audience and offer complicated ideas about sexuality, gender, and desire? Is something lost in the translation of queer theory into digestible bites? Is something gained? If the ideas of queer theory have not yet realized their full potential in mainstream culture, is this an issue of “bad writing”? Can poets help?”
Deadline: 1 August 2023
Length: Unspecified
Pay: CAD250
Details here.
(And Fifth Wheel Press is looking for work by queer, trans, and gender variant writers on the ‘dreamland’ theme. They pay $5, and the deadline is 31 July 2023. Details here.)

B Cubed Press: Alternative Leadership
They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for this anthology. “Leadership by the under-represented, by those too often forced to watch as those less qualified, less capable rise in a system that cannot see the value of diversity and change.
We’re looking for broken barriers of all kinds. Can a man lead the National Organization of Women? Can a woman lead the NFL Players Association?  Not in our current world, perhaps, but maybe in alternative worlds?
This will be a book about those things, in government, in the PTA, in the Horde, in the town or village. In the world. About the Orc would be King of the Goblins, the woman who would be Pope. The only limits are those of your own imagination. … The Alternatives series often uses humor and satire as a way of looking at issues. You don’t have to write satire or humor to sell us a story, but it sometimes helps. We are unabashedly social justice fans and love redemption.”
Deadline: 1 August 2023
Length: Up to 5,000 words preferred for fiction (see guidelines)
Pay: $0.03/word
Details here and here.

Mysterion: Speculative fiction with Christian themes
They want science fiction, fantasy and horror stories that engage meaningfully with Christian themes, characters or cosmology. The stories need not teach a moral, or be close to an approved theological position, or be pro-Christian. They are especially interested in stories that show Christians from cultures beyond those of the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. They also accept translations and reprints. They have two annual reading periods for fiction, January and July. Art is accepted through the year.
Deadline: 1 August 2023
Length: Up to 9,000 words
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here and here.

The First Line Journal
They want fiction and poetry that begins with pre-set first lines, one for each quarterly issue. For nonfiction, they want critical articles about your favorite first line from a literary work. For fiction and poetry, the first line for the Fall issue is: ‘As soon as Harriet entered the building, she headed to the seventh floor.
Deadline: 1 August 2023
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for nonfiction Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for nonfiction, $10 for poetry (less postage fee for international writers who want print contributor copies – see guidelines)
Details here.

Occult Detective Magazine
Their guidelines say, “We are looking for intriguing fiction which features those who investigate or explore the strange and unusual, and we are eager to read submissions featuring a diverse range of characters, cultures and periods. So although we do enjoy and accept classic Victorian/Edwardian sleuths, seventies PIs and so on, a fresh twist is always likely to interest us. Your ‘investigator’ does not have to have a professional role, and can be anyone seeking answers – check out what we have already published to see the very broad range we cover. Tales with more varied geographical and historical settings are encouraged as a welcome change from the usual 21stC UK and US settings (though we take these as well, naturally). We love weird literary tales, will consider well-written Pulp, and will also accept fantasy and SF stories, as long as they fit the overall concept. Do not send us detective stories with no paranormal, occult, psychic or weird elements – or general weird and paranormal stories with no investigative work of any nature.”
Deadline: 1 August 2023
Length: 5000-10,000 words for fiction; 2,000-4,000 words for nonfiction
Pay: £0.01/word for fiction, with a cap of £45;  nonfiction is also at £0.01, with a cap of £25
Details here (scroll down – download guidelines).

Queens in Wonderland Anthology
Their website says, “This is an LGBTQ+ Alice in Wonderland themed anthology, and we want to see it all. Throw some of those iconic characters into space. Put them in an urban fantasy. We’d love to see a cyberpunk or decopunk (or any punk!) version. A classic Lewis Carroll version would be good too. Feel free to take any of the characters (don’t forget about the White Queen or the Dormouse) or use any of the world-building from the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There you wish.” Please see their note about contributor copies.
Deadline: 31 August 2023
Length: 1,500-5,000 words
Pay: $20
Details here.

Lampblack Magazine: Labor
They want submissions from Black writers only; fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the Labor theme. Their website says, “We are committed to the advancement of Black literature through direct aid, programs for writers and readers of Black literature, and a magazine dedicated to voices from the Black diaspora.” And, “Across the diaspora, we experience labor in different ways: labor of love; emotional labor; physical labor; service work; the resistance of labor. For the third issue of Lampblack magazine, we invite you to submit poetry, short fiction stories, and non-fiction essays on the subject of labor.” Please note, at the time of writing, there was no deadline given in the submission guidelines.
Deadline: Unspecified
Length: Up to 10 pages of poetry; up to 20 pages of prose
Pay: $350
Details here.


(Some grants/residencies are also open, including the Associates of the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence for emerging children’s/YA writer – all genres are welcome, including fiction, non-fiction, scripts, graphic novels, or poetry, applicants must be US citizens and cannot have prior professional book publications, the award is up to $25,000, and the deadline is 14 July 2023, details here; and the PEN/Bare Life Review Grant for refugee and immigrant literature pays $5,000 each to two writers, and is open for foreign-born writers based in the U.S., and to writers living abroad who hold refugee/asylum seeker status, deadline: 21 July 2023, details here and here.)

Sine Theta Magazine Annual Writing Contest
Sine Theta Magazine accepts works from people of Sino descent only, regardless of nationality, and the same eligibility requirement applies to this contest. They are accepting themed general submissions of prose and poetry for their next issue. They have published three prompts on their website, and writers should respond to those prompts directly or indirectly. Out of all the entries submitted for publication in the magazine, they will select one winner for poetry, and another winner for prose, who will receive cash prizes. (Also, “All authors published in sinθ receive a $10 USD honorarium. For the two contest winners, there is an additional $200 USD prize, amounting to a total of $210 USD.”)
Value: $200 each for poetry and prose
Deadline: 7 July 2023
Open for: People of Sino descent
Details here.

The H G Wells Short Story Competition: Motion
This is an international short story contest on the theme of ‘Motion’, of 1,500-5,000 words. There is no fee for the Margaret and Reg Turnill Competition/Junior prize, i.e. for those aged under 21 years. The other categories have a submission fee attached.
Value: £1,000 for those under 21 years
Deadline: 10 July 2023
Open for: Fee-free for those under 21
Details here, here, and here.

The Stephen Spender Prize
This is a prize for UK or Irish citizens, as well as an Open category for adults from all over the world, for translated poetry. There are various categories; entry for many categories is free, including the Youth category, Schools Laureate prize, Teachers Laureate prize for teachers (this category has non-cash prizes), and Ukrainian Spotlight (for specific translations – see guidelines).
Value: £50-£100
Deadline: 14 July 2023
Open for: UK or Irish citizens, or pupils at a British School overseas
Details here (scroll down).

Blessing the Boats Selections: 2023
Their website says this is not a contest, but an open reading period for poetry manuscripts of 48-100 pages; one manuscript will be selected for publication, and an honorarium. There is no fee for this reading period. “Submissions are … open to all women poets of color in the U.S., including poets who identify as cis, trans, and non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers on women’s experiences, regardless of citizenship and publication history.” And, “Blessing the Boats Selections is named after Lucille Clifton’s National Book Award-winning collection, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems (BOA, 2000), in honor and celebration of her enduring legacy. Lucille Clifton’s writings of Black life and Black female life have shaped a sense of what is possible for so many. In the poem that begins “won’t you celebrate with me,” she writes: “born in babylon / both nonwhite and woman / what did i see to be except myself?” Blessing the Boats Selections titles walk behind and grow out of the poetry of those lines.” Submissions will not be read blind.
Value: $5,000, publication
Deadline: 14 July 2023
Open for: Women of color in the US
Details here and here.

The Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest
For this contest, they have two categories: a traditional sonnet, which can be Shakespearean or Petrarchan, and a modern sonnet. Poets can enter work in one or both categories (see guidelines).
Value: $50, $30, $20
Deadline: 15 July 2023
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Kaidankai: 2023 Contest – Haunted Horror
For this contest, they want fiction submissions on the Haunted House theme, of 1,000-3,000 words.
Value: $100, $50, and two prizes of $25 each
Deadline: 15 July 2023
Open for: All writers
Details here.
(Submission guidelines for non-contest entries, or general submissions, are on the same page; there is no payment for those. Regarding the podcast, their website says, “Kaidankai is a weekly podcast and online outlet for tales of the supernatural. We are a celebration of the genre in all of its forms–from poetry to personal experience, from romance to horror. … If it is selected, your story will be read on the podcast and posted on the Kaidankai. The kaidankai is based on an activity from Edo period Japan, when 100 people would gather in a room with 100 candles to tell their creepy tales. After each tale, a candle would be blown out. As the room grew darker, the tales grew more ominous.” There is no payment for general submissions.)

Strive Publishing & Free Spirit Publishing: Black Voices in Children’s Literature 
This is a contest for US-based Black writers. They want children’s stories by and about Black people. “Eligible entries will include original children’s books for ages 0–4 (50–125 words) or for ages 4–8 (300–800 words) featuring authentic, realistic Black characters and culture and focusing on one or more of the following topics: character development, self-esteem, identity, diversity, getting along with others, engaging with family and community, or other topics related to positive childhood development. Religious and fantasy themes will not be considered.”
Value: $1,000, $500, $250
Deadline: 24 July 2023
Open for: Black writers in the US
Details here and here.
(Their Submittable page also has details of other calls.)

RSL’s Literature Matters Awards
These awards, by the Royal Society of Literature, are for UK residents. The awards “aim to reward and enable literary excellence and innovation. Each year, after an open call for proposals, the Awards are given to individual writers or other literary creators, recognising their past achievements and providing them with financial support to undertake a proposed new piece of writing or literary project.
Priority will be given to proposals which (a) will help connect with audiences or topics outside the usual reach of literature, and/or (b) will help generate public discussion about why literature matters.” The project may be a piece/pieces of writing, a publication, an event, or a production.
Value: £20,000 corpus, split between various projects
Deadline: 28 July 2023
Open for: UK writers
Details here and here

Mason Jar Press: The 1729 Book Prize in Poetry
This is an international contest for a poetry manuscript; they plan to alternate between prose and poetry, and this is their inaugural poetry prize. “Send us your book-length works of poetry … until midnight July 31, 2023. We tend to lean toward semi-experimental works with a strong literary bent. Hybrid works are welcome. 50–75 pages/poems is probably the sweet spot, but a little under or over is fine!
Again, we tend to prefer work that pushes the bounds of literary norms, but that isn’t to say we only like that. We welcome surprise. Try us (but only try us with book-length poetry). We’ll read it, and if we love it, we’ll publish it. One chosen manuscript will be published in 2024.” They accept collections of poetry, hybrid collections that are primarily poetry, translations of poetry, poetry collections, and experimental book-length works of poetry. Please note, they have a submission cap, and so may close submissions earlier than the deadline.
Value: $1,000, and more
Deadline: 31 July 2023, or until filled
Open for: All writers
Details here, here, here, and here.

The Lincoln Forum: Platt Family Scholarship Prize Essay Contest
This essay contest is for full-time undergraduates at an American college or university in Spring 2023. The topic for this year’s essay is: “2023 is the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Does Abraham Lincoln deserve the title of ‘The Great Emancipator’? Why or why not?” Entries must be 1,500- 5,000 words.
Value: $1,500, $750, $500
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Open for: Students in a US college or university
Details here.

Sisters in Crime: Pride Award for Emerging LGBTQIA+ Crime Writers
This is a grant for an emerging writer in the LGBTQIA+ community. It is for an unpublished work of crime fiction, aimed at readers from children’s chapter books through adults. This may be a short story or first chapter(s) of a manuscript in-progress of 2,500 to 5,000 words. An unpublished writer is preferred, but writers with publication of not more than 10 pieces of short fiction and/or up to 2 self-published or traditionally published books are also eligible. Also, winners and any runners-ups who wish to maintain their anonymity, may do so, or they may choose to select a pen name for announcements.
Value: $2,000
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Open for: Unpublished/emerging LGBTQIA+ writers (see above)
Details here and here.

Singapore Unbound Awards: Singapore and Other Literatures
These awards are for the best undergraduate critical essays on Singapore and Other Literatures. “The author does not have to be residing in Singapore nor to have maintained their citizenship. The work(s) discussed may be in any of the literary genres, including but not limited to poetry, fiction, literary non-fiction, drama, and graphic novels.”
Value: S250 each for three essayists
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Details here and here.
(The Singapore Unbound page also has details of their other submission calls, both fee-free and fee-based.)

Speculative Literature Foundation: Two grants
They will be open for two grants in July; writers can apply for one or both grants.
— The Diverse Writers grant is to support new and emerging writers of speculative fiction from underrepresented groups, including writers of color, disabled, women or working-class writers.
— The Diverse Worlds grant is for work that best represents a diverse world, irrespective of the writer’s background.
Writers may apply for one or both grants. The project must be a proposed book-length work of speculative fiction (novels, short story collections). Non-fiction, poetry, picture books, and editorial projects are not eligible. See their schedule for other grants, with later reading periods.
Value: Two grants of $500 each
Deadline: 31 July 2023
Open for: Underrepresented writers for Diverse Writers; and writers whose work represents a diverse world for Diverse Worlds
Details here (grant details) and here (schedule for all their grants).

(A couple of contests with later deadlines are:
— The Academy for Teachers – Stories Out of School Flash Fiction Contest: They want honest, unsentimental stories, of 6-749 words, about teachers and schools. The contest is open to all writers, whether or not they are a teacher. The story’s protagonist or narrator must be a K-12 teacher. Sentimentality is discouraged and education jargon is forbidden. The prize is $1,000, and publication in A Public Space. The deadline is 1 September 2023. Details here and here.
Fundación César Egido Serrano’s VIIth Microfiction Contest: This is a contest for a microfiction story. Languages accepted are Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew. Writers over 14 years from anywhere in the world can participate, and there is no theme. Writers can send up to 3 stories, of up to 100 words each. Participants must read the rules carefully, they say they can publish the participating stories without compensation. Participating writers can vote on up to 50 stories. The first prize is $20,000; there are three other prizes of $2,000 each, one for each participating language. The deadline is 30 September 2023. They reserve the right to extend the deadline. The website is here and the participation form is here.)

Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She can be reached here.



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